Educational Resources

Canaan Lan’

Canaan Lan': An Integrated Arts Residency on the Underground Railroad and Black Migration to Canada

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale is pleased to offer a curriculum-based integrated arts residency called Canaan Lan’, on the theme of the Underground Railroad and Black Migration to Canada. The residency comes with a study guide for teachers of elementary school students that includes lesson plans, rubrics, curriculum documents, terms and definitions, and additional resources.

Originally developed for middle school students in Grade 8, Canaan Lan’ was piloted with a group of students and teachers at Appleby College, Oakville, ON in January 2004. It was subsequently used as an integrated teaching module in the Toronto District School Board’s Northwest 6 family of schools in 2005/2006. Canaan Lan’ includes several learning modules that can be customized to your school’s budget and needs. While it was piloted with Grade 8 students, the Canaan Lan’ residency was designed to be expanded for a wide age range, from Grades 1-12. Available learning modules are as follows:

  • A professional development workshop for teachers, led by Brainerd Blyden-Taylor and The Nathaniel Dett Chorale
  • A one-hour lecture for students by Brainerd Blyden-Taylor, on the history and relevance of the Spiritual
  • A choral component: students learn three Afrocentric choral works, and perform them at the end of the project in a concert with The Nathaniel Dett Chorale (see below.)
  • Classroom visits by the individual singers of the Chorale to provide support to teachers in delivering program content
  • Workshops and a dramatic presentation by a professional storyteller on the Spirit of Harriet Tubman (separate arrangements may be necessary for this module)
  • Workshops on African Rhythms with a professional drummer
  • A study guide including lessons on the following themes: the Underground Railroad, Crossing into Canada, the History of the Spiritual, Composer R. Nathaniel Dett, Map to Freedom (History/Geography/Drama), Follow the Drinking Gourd (Music History/Composition), and One Way Ticket (Drama/History/Geography). The study guide also includes terms and definitions, additional resources, and rubrics for elementary school students based on the Ontario Curriculum
  • A final concert by The Nathaniel Dett Chorale for students, parents and teachers, in which the participants in the choral component perform their pieces with the Chorale
  • Subsidized tickets to a performance in the Toronto concert season of The Nathaniel Dett Chorale

Coming Soon: More Integrated Arts Residencies from the Nathaniel Dett Chorale

The Nathaniel Dett Chorale has several other Integrated Arts Residencies in development. They include:

  • God’s Trombones: A residency focused on contemporary Canadian settings of Afrocentric poetry by the literary giant James Weldon Johnson
  • Voices of the Diaspora: A residency focused on the evolution of music in Africa and the African diaspora – Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, Haitian, Trinidadian, Ghanaian, Zambian, Afro-Colombian, etc.
  • Drummondville to Africville: A residency devoted to the study of African-Canadian communities and their contributions to Canadian culture

Please contact us for more information about these Integrated Arts Residencies.